It’s crazy to think that the first UFC fighter to be under a Zuffa contract to the UFC proper to get into a Strikeforce hexagon would be Ed Herman. And he’s got a stiff test in make it with in Jacare, the best middleweight in Zuffa not in the UFC. Herman is fighting on relatively short notice, as well, thus the 10 pound catchweight.
Fight breakdown – If you wanted to give Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza the perfect introductory fight for UFC fans as the opener on a PPV Ed Herman would be it. He’s a good style matchup, never dull and tough but beatable for someone of Souza’s reputation.
Herman is going to come out and fight wherever it goes. He’s best when he can get top position, or allow for his striking game to take over. He’s at his best when he has superior position; look for him to establish range early, try to use his surprisingly good wrestling to get a takedown to work from the top. Herman’s a good athlete, not great, and has maximized everything that he does. He’s a good fighter who can find his way into the lower tier of great because it’s obvious how hard he works to maximize his talents.
Look for him to press the issue and try to get Jacare moving backward. Herman can’t get into a firefight with him but he can pick his spots. If he can keep it even standing and land some takedowns he can steal the fight. It’ll be ugly but that’ll be the key to the fight. He’s not going to want to spend significant chunks of time on the ground, as Souza will tap him if he gets an opening, but he needs to do something like what Josh Koshceck does; get takedowns with not of time control near the end of the round, box close and always move forward. For some judges being the one moving forward, despite being outclassed, can make the difference. Herman’s not the type that will try to game judges into giving him a win but he can’t let Jacare dictate terms either.
Souza is one of the best BJJ players in MMA who’s recently added a savvy kickboxing game to his arsenal. He has some serious power in his hands, as well, and has looked significantly better since losing the middleweight title to Rockhold in a very close decision. Look for him to press the fight, be the aggressor, and try to catch Herman with a big right. Herman is tough but Souza has enough power to put him away. He can’t let Herman dictate the fight; he has to be aggressive and turn this into a war. Herman doesn’t have the artillery to keep up.
One x-factor that might come into play is the short notice for Herman; he doesn’t have nearly as much weight to cut but how his cardio can’t be up to his normal standard.
Why it matters – Souza with a win gets a notch over a name UFC fighter en route to coming over to the UFC and thickening up the middleweight division. Herman was on a streak until the Shields fight; he needs a win to get back in the game.
Prediction – Souza by submission